Photography: 2010 European Aquatics Champs’

I’ve been back from Budapest now for a few days now and only just had a chance to get some images up here on my personal website due to a last minute house move!…. For those who don’t know I was out there photographing the 2010 LEN European Aquatics Championships, with a focus on GBR Athletes. If you are just looking for photos click here for Swimming, or click here for Diving. These links will take you straight to my archives where you can search by competitor name, event, etc to find what you are looking for. Awimming images are mainly of Brits, but there are competitors from other countries in the Diving galleries, and more will be added when i have time! I cannot sell through here for editorial use due to the agreement with my agency, but if you need editorial images contact me and I will sort you out. If you want to read a bit more about my trip, and about the championships, follow the link…………….

I was at the Championships from Monday 9th August through to Sunday 15th August, and it was a super busy schedule….. I was working 15hour days at least, and didn’t really have a moment to stop and think! I was out there shooting the British guys and girls, and was having to regularly wire shots back to my agency in the UK. Finding the time to edit, keyword, caption and upload was difficult to say the least. The big picture agencies were all present (Getty, AFP, Associated Press, Reuters) and the last 3 all had picture editors on site and photographers who were shooting tethered (camera wired straight into editors computer), so all they had to worry about was getting the photos. Their editor did the rest. The guys with smaller agencies, and freelancers like myself were all significantly busier. This was a big international event, and on the first morning I was a little stunned at the pace of things, but I soon settled in and in fact thrived on the challenge of it all. Although the days were very long, and very tiring (being stood in 35 degree heat all day with camera equipment didn’t help there) they were at no point boring. I had a brilliant week.

As for the action itself, the British Team had considerable success in the pool. With six golds, six silvers and six bronzes, British Swimming finished third in the medals table behind Russia (7-4-1) and France (8-7-6). This was despite most of the swimmers training up to their events (usually training is tapered off near an event so swimmer is fully rested) with their main focus on the Commonwealth Games later in the year in Delhi. Fran Halsall is worthy of particular mention, having won an incredible 5 medals at the Championships! As a Brit, it was great to see the team doing well, but as a freelance photographer it was a nightmare!! Any success for a British Athlete meant more photos I had to edit and caption and send back to the UK ASAP.

One of the big disappointments of the week for me was over in the Diving Pit, where 16 year old Tom Daley, Britain’s World Champion in the 10m Platform event (the pinnacle of competitive diving), was scheduled to dive in the 10m Platform Synchronised and Individual events. Unfortunately mid-week in training, Tom came off the 10m Platform and missed a hand position, allowing the water to force his right arm behind his back upon entry. This led to a tricep injury in his right arm. The following day Tom didn’t train (when all his teammates did) and was icing the affected muscle all day. At this stage the British team were very quiet about the injury, and the media didn’t really pick up its significance. I did have a feeling though that it could be the end of Tom’s week. The following day (Saturday) Tom was due to dive in the 10m Synchro platform event with partner Max Brick. He trained in the morning (though only from lower boards) but did seem to wince occasionally. He dived with Max in the preliminary round of his event (with heavy strapping on the injury), but was pulled out at very late notice from the Finals on Saturday afternoon. It was strange because after his preliminary, Tom was telling the media that with ice to numb any pain, he would be fine to complete his program and dive both Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Now my reason for me going on about this is twofold. Firstly, an injury looked like a big blow for Tom; he is diving this weekend in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, and has the Youth World Championships, and Commonwealth games just around the corner. The Euros were to be a big test of his new dives (Tom now has the hardest dives in the world in his repertoire) in preparation for these competitions. The second reason for me going on about Tom Daley, is a purely selfish one!!! As much as I felt sorry for him, I was also extremely frustrated for me. As a British photographer, the events with Tom in were one of my big reasons for being there. The photos are very saleable because Tom Daley is a household name in Britain after his Olympic participation and World Championship success, all at such a young age. Also, there was a lot of media interest because of the new much harder dives Tom was bringing to the Championships.

Although it has no doubt cost me money, I am pleased to report that the injury, first feared to be a small tricep tear, is infact less serious than feared. He was withdrawn from competition in Budapest so the injury didn’t become worse and hamper the rest of his season. It seems though that Tom will now be diving in Singapore this weekend.
update: 13 October 2010…….. Well turned out that Tom’s tricep injury was a little worse than hoped. Tom did travel to Singapore for the Youth Olympic Games but couldn’t dive from the 10m Platform, He dived 3m but with no real success. After then taking 4 weeks out from training, Tom left himself with only a few more weeks to prepare for the Commonwealth Games. With me writing this just after the final of the men’s 10 Platform final I am pleased to report thet training went very well with Tom today finally showcasing his two nes high tariff dives to beat 2008 Olympic Champion Matthew Mitcham to Commonwealth Gold. This follows yesterdays victory in the 10m Platform Synchro final in which Daley dived with Max Brick, Tom Daley, World Champion, Double Commonwealth Champion, and former European Champion…. Bring on London 2012!

With Tom Daley not diving from the 10m board, Britain’s chances of success in the Diving looked limited, but fortunately earlier in the week Monique Gladding and Megan Sylvester won European Bronze in the Womens 10m Synchro Platform event, which was a fantastic achievement, and in truth probably not expected!

All in all I had a brilliant week. I came home exhausted but it was thoroughly worth it. I have learnt an immense amount about an industry I thought I was pretty clued up about, and I just now need to make sure it was not a wasted opportunity! My only regret is not having time to take more creative pictures, but photographing sport to a deadline is all about capturing the moment…… not necessarily about making a ‘nice’ picture!

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